Payers spent about the same for telehealth or in-person visits in 2020

Insurers paid similar rates for telehealth and in-person services in 2020, according to an analysis from the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker. 

The report, published Jan. 18, compared reimbursement rates for telehealth and in-person care among privately insured individuals in 2020. 

Prices were broadly similar for in-person and virtual services. The average cost for established patient evaluations was $33 dollars for in-person care and $34 dollars for telehealth. 

These trends were similar for mental health services. The average cost insurers paid for 30-minutes of in-person and telehealth psychotherapy was $48. 

The researchers wrote they "do not know at this point" if payers continue to provide similar rates for in-person and telehealth care. 

"However, if telehealth payments continue to be the same as those for in-person care, then this raises questions as to whether telehealth will reduce the spending on common health services, as some have predicted," the researchers wrote. 

See the full report here. 

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